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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2011
Recreating the Cardiff Giant
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2011
Syracuse-based artist Ty Marshal has created a replica of the Cardiff Giant, according to its original size specifications (ten-feet tall). His replica is going to be buried in Syracuse's Lipe Art Park and then unearthed on October 16, the anniversary of the date on which the Giant was first "found" on William Newell's farm back in 1869. After being unearthed, Marshal's giant will remain on display in the park, under a tent, for one week. Visitors will be allowed to view it for 25 cents. Then, using a horse and cart, the Giant will be transported to the Atrium in Syracuse's City Hall Commons where it will be displayed…
Categories: Art, Celebrations, History Comments (2)
Disappearing Political Cleavage
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2011
Usually when politicians become the victims of photo retouchers it's because they've become undesirable to someone in power, and so they're summarily removed from the photo. It's far less common for their images to be retouched in order to desexualize them. This is usually the fate of actresses and models. But this is what happened recently to Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a young Canadian MP. Her cleavage was erased from the image of her that appears on the House of Commons website. The National Post reports: Mark Austin of Old Barns, N.S., discovered the discrepancy this week and passed it to the blog contrarian.ca. He…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (2)
The Case of the Honest Trader
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2011
On Monday (Sep 26) an "independent stock trader" named Alessio Rastani appeared on an interview with the BBC to discuss the Eurozone debt crisis. As the interview progressed, it became apparent that Rastani was far more blunt and cynical than most people from the financial community are when talking in public. For instance, in response to the question, "What would make investors more confident?" he came out with this: I'm a trader. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. Most traders, we don't really care too much how they're going to fix the situation. Our job is to make money from it. And…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (2)
The Egg-Laying Dog of Vienna
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 26, 2011
Recently I read Jan Bondeson's new book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities. Bondeson is one of my favorite writers because he's a master at finding incredibly obscure but truly bizarre oddities from history, and he doesn't disappoint in this book. I plan to discuss the book more in a future post, because he's collected a lot of urban legends and hoaxes concerning dogs. For instance, he reveals the story of Greyfriar's Bobby to be a hoax (LaMa has posted about this in the forum). But for now what I want to share is a story he mentions in his first chapter (page 11) about a dog that could supposedly lay eggs. He writes: …
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies Comments (3)
Coning: A Strange New Prank
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 22, 2011
Coning (or cone-ing) involves ordering an ice-cream cone at a fast-food drive-thru window, and then taking it by the ice cream instead of the cone when it's handed to you. If you do a search for coning on youtube, you can see a lot of examples of it. Even Justin Bieber is a fan of coning. It's a strange prank because it inverts the typical logic of pranking. Usually pranks involve humiliating or one-upping a victim. For instance, a victim sits on a whoopee cushion, prompting everyone to laugh at him. But in the case of coning, the prankster pays for the ice cream cone and then proceeds to ruin his own cone by grabbing…
Categories: Pranks Comments (7)
Sussex Zebras
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 22, 2011
Unidentified pranksters broke into the Sussex Horse Rescue Trust in Uckfield, East Sussex and transformed "Ant" the donkey into a zebra by spray-painting stripes on him (express.co.uk). Ant wasn't hurt in any way, though the spray paint reportedly had a strong, unpleasant smell. The RSPCA condemned the prank: "It's shocking people would think it was funny to spray-paint a donkey in this way. We take reports of animals being painted very seriously." This prank immediately reminded me of the tradition of Tijuana Zebras, which I last posted about back in 2006. I noted then that the Tijuana tradition of painting donkeys to look like zebras was dying out, but…
Categories: Animals, Pranks Comments (2)
The Script Kiddies Strike Again
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 12, 2011
There's a long history of hoaxers finding ways to slip fake stories into newspapers. Back in 1864 Joseph Howard tried to manipulate the New York stock market by sending fake Associated Press telegrams to newspaper offices. The telegrams claimed Lincoln had decided to conscript an extra 400,000 men into the Union army. Several papers printed the fake news. The stock market panicked, because the news suggested the Civil War was going to drag on for a lot longer, and Howard (who had invested heavily in gold) made a nice profit. During the 1870s and 1880s, Joseph Mulhattan (a very odd character) made a kind of career out of tricking newspapers into printing fake stories. One…
A Fake Pregnancy Experiment
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 08, 2011
Here's a slightly different spin on the old fake pregnancy prank. (Reality Rule 1.1 in Hippo Eats Dwarf is "Just because a woman looks pregnant, it doesn't mean she is." As a social experiment, the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol made one of their operatives appear to be pregnant. Then they sent her to the state fair and had her stand around in full view drinking beer. They wanted to see if anyone would say something to her about how she shouldn't drink alcohol while pregnant. They even had the woman approach strangers with her beer in hand and ask them to take photos of her drinking.…
Categories: Birth/Babies Comments (7)
The Secret Meaning of Hanging Shoes and Hats
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 08, 2011
Here's an example of how people can interpret what is basically the same phenomenon in very different ways. Yesterday, kcautv.com (Sioux City, IA) reported that the Sioux City police were concerned about shoes hanging from power lines, noting that far from being just a harmless prank, the dangling shoes have a sinister meaning. They "give the alert that there is drug activity here. That you can find your drug needs at this location or in this area." (I've blogged about Secret Powerline Codes before). However, over in Olney, Illinois (home of the white squirrels) a couple woke to find 31 hats hanging from a tree in their front yard. Instead of worrying that…
Categories: Pranks Comments (6)
CLOO: The Socially Networked Toilet
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 08, 2011
The brilliant (or incredibly stupid) idea behind CLOO is to use social networking to make it easier to find somewhere to pee in big cities. The CLOO website explains: CLOO' is based on one simple truth— we all have to pee. Though in urban cities finding a clean, available restroom is difficult & frustrating. That’s where CLOO' comes in. CLOO' is a community of registered users who choose to share their bathrooms and make city-living easier, while earning a small profit. Using social media connections, CLOO' shows what friends you have in common with the host,…
UST Development Phony Invoice Scam
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 06, 2011
Over the weekend I received the following letter in the mail from UST Development, Inc.: I had no idea who this company was, or why I owed them money. Nevertheless, my first reaction was to assume that the invoice must somehow be related to one of the contractors I've had work on my house during the past year -- and that I should therefore probably pay it. But then my more suspicious instincts kicked in, and I decided to google the company. The first result that popped up was scaminformer.com, on which quite a few people were reporting having received the identical letter -- even though…
Categories: Scams Comments (3)
Plastic Caps for Cancer
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2011
The collecting-junk-for-charity hoax must be at least a century old by now. It resurfaced most recently in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where members of a church had been collecting plastic bottle caps, thinking the caps would somehow help pay for chemotherapy treatment for a sick child. One of the church members, when she learned the truth, had this to say about the hoax: "It's a form of terrorism because it disrupts your day-to-day life and prevents you from doing the things you want to accomplish." That may be stretching the definition of terrorism just a little bit. Though I can understand why she's upset. The article also noted some…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (3)
Pareidolia Round: September 2011
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2011
Virgin Mary Sea ShellFelicia Avila of Rio Grande Valley found a sea shell that she says bears the image of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. valleycentral.com Virgin Mary RockTammy Tollett was vacationing in Lake Tahoe when she found a rock that she believes looks like the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. She says this is the real deal (unlike, presumably, all those other phony pareidolia). orlandosentinel.com Concrete Jesus FaceThe face of Jesus materialized on Mary Vasquez's concrete patio. She's lived in…
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion Comments (2)
Krispy Kreme sponsors creation science?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 02, 2011
I was walking through La Mesa last night (La Mesa, where I live, is a suburb of San Diego), when I came across a flyer for the Creation & Earth History Museum, which is down the road in Santee. At the bottom of the flyer, as you can see, is a list of sponsors. Scantibodies, NOTW, 1:1, Christian Examiner, and KSDW didn't surprise me. They're all christian organizations. (The founders of the Creation Museum were also the founders of Scantibodies. KSDW is a bible radio station, and I don't know what 1:1 is, but I'm assuming it's some kind of reference to a biblical verse.)
Categories: Pseudoscience, Religion Comments (22)
MOH chosen as one of America’s Kitschiest Roadside Attractions
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 01, 2011
It's official. American Express's Travel and Leisure Magazine has chosen the Museum of Hoaxes as one of America's Kitschiest Roadside Attractions. We're honored to be recognized in this way!
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